Trippa, an osteria serving vegetables with meat on the side

The success of Diego Rossi's and Pietro Caroli's trattoria in Milan lies in the use of quinto quarto, but the chef adores vegetables, so much so that vegetarians and carnivores can eat at the same table

20-08-2021

Of course if you call your restaurant Trippa, it will be hard to think the menu has anything but meat. If anything, perhaps there might be cod tripe, but all in all, one will not think of vegetables. Instead, one will think there will be plenty of meat, including quinto quarto, which is less popular in Milan than in Rome. And indeed the establishment of Diego Rossi and Pietro Caroli is in Milan, in Via Vasari on the corner with Muratori, and perhaps this is also the reason of its immediate and extraordinary success—an exception to the rule.

Veal in tuna sauce according to Diego Rossi. The dish is not available unless he's at the restaurant

Veal in tuna sauce according to Diego Rossi. The dish is not available unless he's at the restaurant

Finding a table here has always been a challenge. It's even worse now that you have to book from one day to the next, which reinforces the image of local trattoria. It's clear right from the moment your read the menu that this is not a restaurant. Especially the online menu, which is vague, the way you would expect from a traditional osteria. There are very few dishes mentioned explicitly: Veal in tuna sauce (a real masterpiece), Chargrilled bone marrow and Fried Tripe. Stop. That's it.

Diego Rossi: Aubergines alla romana, cacio e pepe sauce, mint

Diego Rossi: Aubergines alla romana, cacio e pepe sauce, mint

Other than that, the website only says Soup of the day, Pasta of the day, Risotto of the day, Meat-based main course, Main course of the day… The prices often show a range, from 11 to 13 euros, from 16 to 20, and this is important, but again it's vague. Once you find a table, the menu is the one of that night (and I say night because Trippa is only open in the evening, from Monday to Saturday), and it's less nebulous. On Monday 19th July there were Melanzane alla romana, cacio e pepe sauce, mint; Pappardelle with roe deer sauce; Roasted rabbit with herbs, “caponata” of perline aubergines; octopus braised in red wine… The specials are always “based on what's available and on the chef's mood” and the seasonal vegetables are “what the market offers”.

Diego Rossi: Salad of melon, barattiere, French beans, Giarratana onion, basil

Diego Rossi: Salad of melon, barattiere, French beans, Giarratana onion, basil

Summing up: it's the market that chooses, and Diego Rossi makes do. But the chef himself goes far beyond and doesn't hide behind common places and banality. So much so he soon confesses that he respects meat, he only chooses meat of the highest quality (to give an idea, his butchers are Marco Martini in Piedmont and Michele Varvara in Puglia), he uses it and respects it. But he's not deeply passionate about it.

Diego Rossi: Soup of onion from Castrofilippo and Acquaviva, castelmagno and croutons

Diego Rossi: Soup of onion from Castrofilippo and Acquaviva, castelmagno and croutons

Doctor Trippa adores vegetables, even though he's not a vegetarian: «I always use vegetables. I'm fascinated by them, I study them, pamper them, enhance them even at the restaurant. I never hide them, never consider them a side dish. For me fish, vegetables and meat are equal, you must experience them in harmony with yourself and with nature».

Carpaccio of watermelon, rocket and Parmigiano from Diego Rossi

Carpaccio of watermelon, rocket and Parmigiano from Diego Rossi

At number 1 in Via Vasari, a carnivore and a vegetarian can eat at the same table and leave satisfied. The real problem is another one: vegetarians won't think that Trippa is also the best vegetarian trattoria in Milan: Aubergines alla romana; Salad of melon, barattiere, French beans, onion from Giarratana, basil; Roasted Acquaviva onion, nectarines, parsley and tonda gentile di Langa hazelnuts; Soup of onions from Castrofilippo and Acquaviva, castelmagno and croutons; Mandilli de sea with pesto…

Salad of nasone tomatoes, aubergines and pesto, another vegetarian dish served at Trippa

Salad of nasone tomatoes, aubergines and pesto, another vegetarian dish served at Trippa

And then Diego comes to your table and to the one next to you with some tomatoes. He beams: «Look, these are nasone tomatoes, they come from Cavallino, that strip of land that looks over Venice». He looks so excited. He will return later, with a carpaccio, with thin slices, somewhere between pink and light red, with rocket and Parmigiano on top.

Mandilli de sea, silky pasta with pesto, a very elegant traditional pasta dish from Liguria, which Diego Rossi serves in Milan

Mandilli de sea, silky pasta with pesto, a very elegant traditional pasta dish from Liguria, which Diego Rossi serves in Milan

Worth trying, a clear provocation for the chic Milan, but also a great job in the kitchen: these are slices of watermelon, cooked without the peel at 180°C for some 40 minutes, one on top of the other. Weight plays a prominent role, and so does pepper.

«Old man, you know what's my real dream? Opening a restaurant serving Vegetables with meat on the side». I can't wait.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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